Things to Have in Place Before Selling a House

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Contributed by Emma Metson

Selling a house is no simple feat to accomplish. Regardless if you’re selling it for profit or because you need to for personal reasons, there’s a lot of things that you need to consider.

If you’re selling a house as a property developer, some things that you need to consider are as follows:

  • Your target market
  • The condition of the property
  • Location
  • Costs including the unexpected ones

But if you’re not a property developer, the first question that you need to answer is “Do I really need to sell my house?”. Selling your house and moving to a different one is a lot more complicated than you think.

Say, if you just need more space, consider building an extension first. You can also convert the attic or the basement to give you more room. The costs involved in moving, especially with Stamp Duty are so high that it might be more cost-effective to just expand your house.

The ever-changing house prices are also another thing to consider. A good example is when prices are rapidly rising. There’s a good chance that you may not be able to afford a bigger house than what you already have.

If anything, you’re probably better off renting your home out instead of selling it. However, if the reason you’re selling is that you need to downsize, getting a more affordable house shouldn’t be so hard a task.

With that being said, here are five things you need to have in place before you decide to put your house out on the market.

A new house to buy or rent

This is only applicable if you’re selling the home you currently live in. Remember this: potential buyers will always want to visualize themselves living in the house. That means you, being there, will not help.

Leave the talking and selling to your agent but make sure that you got the right person for the job.

Having a place to stay (either if you’re renting or buying a new house) adds up to the overall expenses. However, it puts you in a strong position especially if you’re buying another house. Just as you’re trying to sell off your home, sellers would prefer someone who can readily purchase without relying on the sale of their own.

Ultimately, it frees you from the pressure of selling your house too quickly. That means you have better chances of getting the most decent offer.

House that’s in its best condition

This should come as a no-brainer. After all, who would want to buy a house with leaking faucets, cracked walls, or broken windows and doors? No one.

You don’t have to spend so much. Just make sure that all necessary repairs are done before putting your property up for sale. Refurbish parts of the house if needed or replace them if it means solving the issues altogether.

You should also consider getting a survey of your house done. It works two ways, and both are to your advantage. For starters, you can use it to find out and fix any problem with the house. Another benefit is you can use it to attract buyers especially if your property is in pristine condition.

Tip: don’t over-personalize the house that you’re selling. In this case, the saying ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ is quite accurate. Stick to neutral paint colors and decors as much as possible.

Specific selling price

Probably one of the most challenging decisions to make is how much you should sell your house for. It’s already a given that you don’t want to sell it cheap. However, you also wouldn’t want to sell it for so much more unless you’re willing to wait so long for an offer.

Admittedly, it’s tough to come up with a selling price for your house. But don’t fret. The good news is that you don’t need rocket science to come up with a reasonable price.

Take note of the following:

  • Again, a survey will help a lot. While it is very tempting to rely on the valuation provided by agents or mortgage lenders, it can turn out to be your biggest mistake. That’s because they might have agendas that are different from yours.
  • Mortgage valuers often give low valuations to protect the interests of the lenders. If the mortgage valuers or estate agents are not locals, they’ll probably value your house based on statistics from the Land Registry.
  • It’s best to get a local estate agent to do the valuation. However, choose one based on their track-record of achieving the asking price. You don’t want to get baited into instructing them to sell your house at a very high price.
  • Do your research. You can start by checking websites that offer online valuation. These are excellent tools to help you estimate how much you should sell your house for. These sites come up with price estimates based on how much other properties in your area were sold for including those that are currently on sale.
  • Always assume that buyers would ask for a discount. Also, factor in other costs like Stamp Duty as they can significantly affect your asking price.
  • Lastly, be crystal clear as to what’s included in your price like fixtures and fittings, for instance.

A solicitor or conveyancer

You’ll need a solicitor or a conveyancer to take care of all the legal work involved in transferring the ownership of your property to the buyer. The fee to hire a solicitor and a conveyancer can range anywhere between £500 to £1850.

Here is some of the legal stuff that they take care of for you.

  • Obtain your title deeds and support you in filling in necessary questionnaires.
  • Prepare and distribute a contract for sale.
  • Request a settlement figure for your mortgage.
  • Liaise with the parties acting on behalf of the buyer to negotiate a moving date.
  • Act as the recipient of the house deposit.
  • Organise the final accounts and prepare a final settlement.
  • Approve the deed of transfer.
  • Pay off the remainder of the mortgage.
  • Hand over the property deeds.
  • Send any outstanding balance to you.

While it’s true that you can sell your house without hiring a solicitor or a conveyancer, it’s highly advisable that you don’t. The work that they do, as mentioned above, are just some of them. Unless you have the free time (you’ll need a lot) and you’re expecting a very straightforward sale without any outstanding mortgages, then go for it.

Clear communication

Although it’s mandatory, people often forget to communicate with all interested parties involved in selling the house. It’s understandable that selling a house can be extremely stressful that you’ll want to go on vacation for a breather.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t and you shouldn’t.

But if you do, make sure that you keep your lines open at all times. Your conveyancer or real estate agent will need to contact you during this process. On the other hand, if you have questions, ask them.

It’s also worth creating a draft contract. While it’s not legally binding, this can help make buyers less likely to delay or pull out. Dates of exchange and completion should be included to avoid any argument down the line.

Conclusion

So there you have it. With the tips provided in this article, you should be able to sell your house hassle and stress-free. It’s not always a smooth process, and you’ll likely bump into hurdles along the way.

But as long as you make sure that you’re one step ahead, there’s nothing that you should worry about.

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